“See Saw Margery Daw” is a traditional language nursery rhyme and folksong dating back to the 18th century England.
The lyrics as known today were first recorded in the Mother Goose’s Melody collection (1765, London) while the tune associated with the song was collected later on, around 1870 by William Elliot, the author of the National Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Songs.
Originally the words might have been used long time ago by sawyers during work. References about such connection can be found in Richard Brome’s play “The Antipodes” (1640).
“See-Saw playground” as a singing game
See Saw Margery Daw is also a very popular playground singing game having also its roots in the early 18th century. As a game, it was first recorded in 1700 and it was known as the “see-saw” game. It was played usually by two children.
Following the same simple rules the lyrics of See Saw Margery Daw are usually sung by two kids moving backwards and forwards, sometimes holding a band or their own hands or rocking on a see-saw balance.
“See Saw Margery Daw” Lyrics
A common modern version is:
See Saw Margery Daw,
Jacky shall have a new master;
Jacky shall earn but a penny a day,
Because he can’t work any faster.
“See Saw Margery Daw” Older Lyrics
See-saw, Margery Daw,
Sold her bed and lay on the straw;
Sold her bed and lay upon hay
And pisky came and carried her away.
For wasn’t she a dirty slut
To sell her bed and lie in the dirt?